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Rennes v Spurs: What will be the key battles?

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Spurs will be looking to bounce back after Saturday’s humiliating defeat to Crystal Palace as they travel to Rennes for their opening UEFA Europa Conference League group stage tie tomorrow.

The French side are arguably the biggest competition in the group and with a home tie against Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, a win would do Spurs a world of good going into that all important fixture.

We have profiled the key battles that you should expect to see throughout tomorrow:

Hamari Traore v Bryan Gil

Hamari Traore is a 29-year-old right-back who is the captain of the Mali national team and one of the better defenders in the French Ligue 1, having performed consistently for the club since joining from Reims back in 2017.

He is a very physical player who possesses good pace and acceleration, strength and agility, so the battle between him and Bryan Gil is likely to be an entertaining one.

At first, Gil may find it difficult in the opening stages of the game, but if he continues to go at the right-back, he will then be looking to wear him down and beat him for pace or with his fancy set of skills before whipping in crosses to Harry Kane or taking on a shot.

Baptiste Santamaria v Tanguy Ndombele

Tomorrow could mark the first game of the season for French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, who has struggled with injury issues, fitness issues, and reportedly attitude issues – but after having crunch talks with Daniel Levy and Nuno Espirito Santo, he now is attempting to win his place back in the team.

However, his first start will likely see him come up against compatriot Baptiste Santamaria, who spent last season on-loan at SC Freiburg in the Bundesliga, where he made 30 appearances and scored once.

The Rennes man will be relishing the opportunity to stop Ndombele in his tracks, as he is an old school hard-tackling defensive midfielder who is solid in the air and demonstrates excellent concentration when making challenging for the ball.

Martin Terrier v Matt Doherty

Former Lyon forward Martin Terrier hasn’t yet lived up to the potential he showed earlier on in his career, however last season was his joint-best season for scoring in the Ligue 1 as he put the ball in the back of the net nine times in 33 appearances.

A quick right-footed left-winger, he will definitely look to cause problems for Irish right-back Matt Doherty, who hasn’t had a good first year at Spurs and has struggled particularly against inverted wingers during his time in North London.

Should Doherty win the battle between the two, it could prove crucial as Spurs look to take all three points back home to England with them ahead of Sunday’s derby with Chelsea.

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